The possibility of a four-day school week is, again, being discussed by a Southern Alberta school division.

Trustees with the Livingstone Range School Division heard details of the proposal during a presentation from school superintendent Daryl Seguin at its monthly meeting in December.

While no means an indication it will actually happen, it’s been a topic of discussion in recent years nonetheless. 

“The superintendent first presented information on the four-day week to the board in February 2021. A followup presentation was made in September 2021,” chairwoman Lori Hodges told Shootin’ the Breeze.

“Due to the pandemic, this conversation was put on hold.”

Each year, when LRSD sets up its school calendar, it looks at such things like summer and Christmas vacation, exam dates, and days where students aren’t in school. 

“The idea of a four-day week … is in response to a stakeholder engagement and conversations that trustees have had with the public at different times over the years,” Hodges continued.

“The board felt that there was sufficient interest in exploring [it], so we asked our superintendent to bring back more information in December 2023, which he did.“

In practice, the idea wouldn’t always result in a Monday to Thursday and off Friday scenario.

“No, it’s not a true four-day week, but one in which students would attend 156 days in a school year,” Hodges said.

“There are some dates that are required student attendance days due to students writing provincial achievement tests or diploma exams, so some weeks in January and June, students would be in attendance five days during the week,” she noted.

In the case of a holiday Monday, students would then be required to attend school Tuesday to Friday, and each of these would be a full day.

“Right now, the school division has an administrative procedure for school year calendars that does allow an individual school to move ahead with a four-day schedule if that is the wish of their school community, but a certain process needs to be followed,” Hodges said.

And, if approved, she pointed out, it wouldn’t result in any major changes in dates. Kids would still have the year begin in late August or early September and end in June. 

The hope, though, is that it’s the same right across the board — elementary and high school, and then the whole district.

Any such plan “would only provide substantial financial savings if it was implemented on a division-wide basis,” Hodges said.

“To address another challenge such as the recruitment and retention of staff, especially hard-to-fill specialist teacher positions, a division-wide implementation would be the most beneficial.”

For now, there have been no firm timelines put in place to either accept or hold off on the proposal, just discussion, Hodges concluded.

By Dave Lueneberg, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Jan 18, 2024 at 09:47

This item reprinted with permission from   Shootin' the Breeze   Pincher Creek, Alberta

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